Title: The Walking Dead: “The Big Scary U” Review
Air Date: November 19th, 2017
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
The Walking Dead returned tonight and I think “I’m here to take your confession.” That was probably one of Father Gabriel’s coolest lines ever and his creepy grin went perfectly with it. Father Gabriel and Negan have been absent since they appeared in the season eight opener. When that episode ended, we last saw Negan and Gabriel stuck together in a trailer, trapped by the dead. Tonight’s episode was light on the action but great performances came in all around, particularly that of Jeffery Dean Morgan and Seth Gilliam. We got a more in-depth look at both characters and some of Negan’s backstory finally came out.
I feel like tonight’s episode is going to get some flak online by the social media trolls but it really was a well-done episode. The biggest thing for me was when Negan finally cracked a little bit and “confessed” to Father Gabriel. Up until that point, Negan remained as we’ve always seen him… cold and cynical. He pokes fun at Gabriel, justifies everyone he’s killed and everything he’s done to be where he is. Negan doesn’t need to confess anything… until he does. Paralleling the backstory that was released in the comics, we find out Negan did have a real wife, his one real wife and he screwed around on her. She became sick and when she finally died, Negan couldn’t do what he needed too. That was his weakness. In the comics, we find out that his wife was named Lucille.
Seth Gilliam did a superb job in this episode. His chemistry with Jeffery Dean Morgan was fantastic. I also really liked his “not afraid to die” speech. He’s not afraid to die, he just doesn’t want his death to be a fruitless one. Essentially, he means that he’s ready to die but his death has to mean something. His death needs to serve a larger purpose for himself or the group. I can appreciate that line of thinking. He even opens up to Negan with his own confession about what he did to the members of his congregation. Speaking of people doing horrible things, be sure to check out our article talking about the fiasco with EA games and Battlefront 2.
This Walking Dead episode also provided two civil war style storylines. First, we have the Saviors. Not only do they have to move forward under the assumption that Negan could be dead, they also have to come to terms with the fact that a traitor is among them. Without Negan’s leadership and insight, they are very quick to point fingers. Then, we have Daryl and Rick slugging it out. Both are clearly at odds with how to proceed given the information that the majority of The Kingdom was taken out. Norman Reedus did tease a conflict with Rick for season eight of The Walking Dead. Despite their differences, when in danger they immediately reverted to buddy mode and helped each other out. This conflict between the two may not be resolved just yet.
When it comes to the Savior group, they know there’s a traitor among them. The squabbling drags on until Negan is finally revealed to be alive. The playout of all this wasn’t very compelling, at least for me. The biggest takeaway was the workers being ready to rise up against the Saviors without Negan and Eugene’s discovery. Safety is what the workers want and what Negan offered to provide. When they suddenly didn’t see that they had that, they were ready to stand against the Saviors. It could be an important hint moving forward as Rick will have to win these workers at the Sanctuary over. What will be really interesting to see moving forward is how Eugene handles his discovery of Dwight being the mole/traitor. Given the look on his face at the end, I’m not sure that he won’t just turn Dwight in.
A few things in this episode dragged out a little but it was compelling throughout, even without the action. Aside from Negan’s time with Gabriel, it was also an interesting moment seeing him yell at Simon. People are a resource and Negan has zero interest in just killing scores of people. They’re money on the table and the foundation of what they’re trying to build. When Negan says it like that, it’s almost hard to disagree. There’s always been a debate about whether Rick is actually the bad guy in this war. He did, after all, kill a ton of Negan’s people back in season seven unprovoked. Tonight’s episode can certainly further that debate.
Verdict: The Walking Dead provided a compelling episode despite largely subsiding on the action. Jeffery Dean Morgan and Seth Gilliam had fantastic chemistry as Father Gabriel and Negan faced off in the trailer. While the debate among the Saviors was a little underwhelming, Rick and Daryl had their own intense conflict. It also appears another key character may be on their way out.